Arkansas Schools To Get Panic Button App

Starting in September all public schools in Arkansas will receive access to a "panic button" app for use during emergencies. The software is being provided by Rave Mobile Safety for teachers and staff to download onto their smart phones. In the event that they need to contact public safety personnel, they'll be able to use the program to communicate with the state's Smart 911 system.

The adoption of the panic button technology was instigated by a "School Safety Act" bill that modified the state education code to require the alerting system "if funding is available." The implementation is actually being funded by the state Department of Education.

"We felt it imperative to put a solution like this in place to protect the students, teachers and administrators across the entire Arkansas public school system every day," said Commissioner Johnny Key. "Having the ability to instantaneously connect teachers and school administrators with 9-1-1 and other emergency personnel will give us, and Arkansas parents, a much greater sense of confidence as we begin a new school year."

The idea of the panic button app is to allow users to communicate quickly with first responders and other school personnel in the event of a crisis. A five-icon interface connects the user with the appropriate agency depending on the type of emergency — active shooter, fire, medical, police and "other" — and notifies on-site staff of the location and nature of the incident. Dispatchers receiving the contact get pre-loaded data such as the caller's exact location, floor plans, emergency exit locations and emergency contacts.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.